Winterset Historical Context

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The Sacco-Vanzetti Case

In May of 1920, Nicola Sacco and Bartolomeo Vanzetti, two Italian immigrants known to be anarchists and labor union organizers, were arrested in Staughton, Massachusetts and charged with the murder and robbery of a paymaster and his security guard. Sacco was found in possession of a .32 caliber pistol that, ballistics experts claimed, contained the same kind of bullets used in the crime. Several eyewitnesses positively identified them. In the spring of 1921, a jury found the two men guilty of the crimes, based largely on circumstantial evidence. The trial judge sentenced both men to death by electrocution.

Sacco and Vanzetti initially had little popular support because of their radical views and their Italian accents, but their lawyers managed to stay the execution for several years. During this time, liberals and intellectuals reevaluated the case and began to believe that the men were condemned simply because of their...

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This section contains 777 words
(approx. 2 pages at 400 words per page)
Buy the Winterset Study Guide
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Drama for Students
Winterset from Drama for Students. ©2005-2006 Thomson Gale, a part of the Thomson Corporation. All rights reserved.
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